The Maryland Terrapins travel to Texas Memorial Stadium in Austin to face off against the No. 23 Texas Longhorns Saturday afternoon.
Unlike the average season opener, the Terps have had to study film of both Texas and Houston, where Tom Herman was coaching before moving to the Longhorns after last season, defensive lineman Chandler Burkett said.
“[We’re] just trying to take his perspective on how he is going to attack defenses,” Burkett said. “It’s hard when you haven’t really seen the same system for a while, but we’re just trying to do the best we can.”
The Terps defense are looking to pressure the Longhorn’s sophomore quarterback Shane Buechele to prevent him from going downfield to his team’s tall receivers, Burkett added.
Maryland’s defensive line features multiple upperclassmen. The team expects senior defensive end Jesse Aniebonam to have a breakout season as a pass rusher–-much like Yannick Ngakoue two years ago.
Aniebonam is expected to improve due to the new defensive line coach Jimmy Brumbaugh, who joined the staff this past offseason.
“The minute he walked onto campus, our guys just clung onto him,” defensive coordinator Andy Buh said. “You’re going to see a lot of improvement in our defensive line play because of him.”
On the offensive side of the ball, Maryland is led by newly starting quarterback Tyrrell Pigrome and what Texas’s coach described as the “presidential backfield” of junior Ty Johnson and sophomore Lorenzo Harrison.
Junior center Brendan Moore, a native of Austin, Texas, anchors the Terps offensive line.
Moore will play a large part in helping the Terps offense stay rolling at Texas, which is home to one of the rowdiest stadiums in college football.
“Obviously it’s going to be loud; they’re going to be rowdy it’s the first game for the new head coach,” Moore said. “But, we’ve played in a lot of big stadiums. All we have to do is execute.”
Last season the Terps skated through an easy non-conference schedule, but this face off with Longhorns will give Maryland a chance to debunk their doubters early in the season.
“There’s only one bullet in the chamber,” Buh said. “We’re only going to Austin one time.”